The Rhetoric of Self-Ownership.

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  • Author(s): Shanks, Torrey
  • Source:
    Political Theory. Jun2019, Vol. 47 Issue 3, p311-337. 27p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      This essay considers self-ownership as a rhetorical and political practice. Scholarly attention to the rhetoric of self-ownership, notably in feminist theory, often rejects the term for its capacity to distort and fragment notions of the self, the body, social relations, and labor. The ambiguous character of self-ownership, in this view, carries the risk of subversion of more inclusive and relational uses. Adopting a broader notion of rhetoric as creative and effective speech, I recast self-ownership from this critical depiction through a revised understanding of C. B. Macpherson's possessive individualism and then to the texts of John Locke, the Levellers, and the Putney Debates. These early-modern exemplars offer insights into the political promises and risks of the rhetoric of self-ownership that contemporary critics obscure. The ambiguity and plurality too often rendered as a liability for self-ownership instead offer conditions for its agonistic invocation for novel claims and emerging audiences. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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